Starting or raising a family means your priorities frequently change. Those old haunts such as bars, restaurants, and nightlife you once had an affinity for become increasingly less significant as opposed to great school districts, low crime rates, and a true sense of community. Let’s take a look at how to find those characteristics for your family and future community.
- Rates of crime. The safety of your children and significant loved ones is vital when choosing a new neighborhood. A lot of new parents make the mistake of believing that living in a rural area decreases the risk of crime, but this is not always true. One of the better ways to access information consists of using an online database called CrimeReports. This system works with law enforcement agencies to report crime rates in any community in the US. It and other databases are important tools when choosing your new neighborhood.
- School districts. Of vital importance for new families is choosing good school districts that provide adequate or above average levels of learning. In fact, when choosing a specific neighborhood where your kids may be attending school, it’s best to take a timeout and visit the school in person. Faculty and staff are happy to assist you and most will offer you a tour of the school. Another alternative is to visit the local Chamber of Commerce website in your chosen community and catch a glimpse of the school district. Finally, a website entitled greatschools.org provides significant information regarding test scores, school environments, reviews by parents, and even provides information regarding homes for sale in the area you’re looking to buy a home in.
- Taxes and home association fees. Once you buy your home you’re going to be responsible for local taxes. Do your research and determine your costs above your mortgage on property taxes, school taxes and the like. Also check to determine whether your dream home is in a home owner’s association where you will be forced to pay dues and abide by rules you may not be fond of.
- Local amenities. Take a drive around your desired community and see whether there are swimming facilities, parks, playgrounds, libraries, and other related activities and organizations such as the YMCA. Be on the lookout for sidewalks as well, as these are good indicators of safe places where you can walk the family pet and your children can ride their bikes or skate.
- Look for foreclosure signs. At first glance a neighborhood may appear to be your dream place to live. However, if there is an abundance of foreclosure, for sale, or for rent signs, there may be a problem aside from a downturn in the economy. You’ll want to take the time to talk with a few neighbors and get the lowdown as to what is occurring.
- Check the neighborhood during the night and day. What sounds serene and peaceful during the day can change once the sun drops below the horizon. Cruise through the area where you’re thinking about buying your home and raising your family to ensure there are no undo annoyances such as loud music, trains clanking along hidden tracks and the like. In addition, check for any foul odors emanating from factories, plants or other facilities as these may prove to be offensive to your senses.
- Check law enforcement. Any good community for raising a family should have a stable and professional police force that regularly patrols the neighborhood. Potential neighbors can fill your ears or you can simply observe for yourself. Whatever the case, your children’s safety comes first and it all begins with a good community with quality law enforcement.
There are several other things you may want to consider when choosing where to live and raise your family. Speak with your spouse and come up with any additional features you’d like to have such as convenience to shopping, night markets and the like. Remember, once you make that choice to buy a home, it’s too late to regret not properly vetting your chosen community. Good luck and good hunting!